Braided hair is known for being a go-to look, perfect for protecting your hair year-round. Braided hairstyles can be both fun and functional for natural hair types, but they’re also an art form rooted in centuries of African history. If you and your curls want to try something new while keeping your hair protected, braided styles are a versatile option. There are many different types of braided hairstyles to choose from, depending on the current state of your hair and the look you’re going for. Braids can be long or short, small or big, colorful or simple. Learn more about the different types of braided hairstyles and how to maintain and care for them. Are you ready to find your new favorite protective style and experience the benefits of braiding hair?
What are the different types of braid styles?
Braids are one of the most versatile protective styles. From a simple braided ponytail to feed-in goddess braids, there are various styles to choose from. Depending on how complicated the style you want is, you can DIY any braided style if you have the proper technique, hair products and tools such as a hair pick, edge tool, wide tooth comb, hair clip, mist spray, hair pins, ties, scrunchies, etc. Yet, most people get styles like box braids and cornrows installed by a professional stylist.
Let’s get into the different types of braids you might want for your next look. The best thing about braided styles is that you can add your own unique touch to them by adding hair extensions, trying fun colors, and using curly hair accessories.
Easy Braided Styles
If you’ve been low on time or patience lately, here are some quick and easy braided styles for you!
Slick back braided ponytail
With a brush, slick your hair back into a ponytail using this PATTERN’s Styling Cream and a styling gel of your choice. Then, braid the hair in your ponytail to the ends. For the Beyonce effect, consider adding extensions.
This braided style is essentially an inverted cornrow. Like a regular three-strand braid, instead of crossing the strands over the middle strand, they’re crossed under. You can create one french braid straight down the middle of your head or two separated by a middle part. If you would like a long hair look, you can always add extensions.
Use synthetic hair like kankelon to add volume and thickness to your braid style. You can create jumbo braids with many different braided styles like box braids, french braids, or a single ponytail for an updo.
Unique Braided Styles
As one of the most popular and low-maintenance braided styles, cornrow hairstyles are created where the hair sits closest to the scalp. Cornrows can be braided straight down the back of the head or in different shapes and designs.
This undefeated style of the summer is the most common braided hairstyle for all hair types. For those wondering how to do box braids on yourself, the box braid is created by parting the hair into square-shaped sections. Box braids can be anywhere from small to jumbo and short to long. Unlike knotless braids vs knot braids, with box braids, you can see where the hair extensions have been added.
You might’ve seen this style on your Instagram feed this summer. This style is when you “feed” braided hair starting at the hairline, gradually adding more hair as you continue braiding down toward the ends. This style adds length while still giving the illusion of a more natural look.
Upside Down Braids Updo
Flip your head upside down and begin french braiding, starting from your neck and up toward the middle of your head. Create one braid going straight up into a braided bun or fro, depending on the length of your hair. You can also draw a middle part and create two upside down braids into two space buns.
This style involves creating a jumbo braid that surrounds your head, resembling a crown. Try these different types of crown braids:
- Style one large crown braid to create a continuous halo effect.
- Braid one side of your head, slick down the other side, then pull the rest of your hair into a low bun.
- Create a middle or side part in your hair, braid the hair on each side down to its ends and pin it using bobby pins.
Braid or cornrow a front portion of your hair and leave the rest of your hair out. You can leave your natural hair out, put it in a high afro, or a ponytail.
Low Braided Bun
Cornrow your hair to the ends and swoop the braids that are hanging into a low bun. You can also add synthetic hair into your natural hair to create jumbo braids and a fuller bun.
Micro braids are just that, braids that are very small in size. This style of braids is one of the more low-maintenance styles but will require some commitment and patience. This style isn’t complicated, but since the braids are small, it requires a bit more technique, patience, and skill than other braided styles. If you are getting them installed by a professional stylist, prepare to sit in a chair for about 8+ hours.
Should you wear braids?
Braids are one of the easiest types of protective styles to accomplish for all natural hair types. They are low-maintenance, can prevent hair damage, and help promote hair growth. If the style is properly installed and maintained, braids can be a great hairstyle.
How should you prepare for braids?
To help prep your hair for a braided style, make sure your scalp is properly cleansed and conditioned before starting to braid. Use PATTERN’s Clarifying Shampoo to remove any residue and buildup, followed by the nourishing Lightweight Conditioner. And then, incorporate a deep conditioning treatment in your routine to give your hair extra strength and moisture before braiding it.
Use PATTERN’s Wide Tooth Comb to untangle any knots in your hair to prevent breakage, making the braiding process much more seamless.
Most people blow-dry or stretch out their curls before installing or braiding their hair. This is a critical step in the hair braiding process to ensure your braids are smooth, frizz-free, and will last longer.
How long should you wear braids?
To maintain the health of your hair, it’s important not to keep a braided style in for too long. The length of time you keep a braided style depends on personal preference, the specific type of braid, the health of your hair, and how well you maintain your hair on a regular basis. As a general rule, keep your braids in for no longer than 8 weeks. If you work out often and sweat, your braids might not last as long. If you know your hair or edges are prone to breakage, try not to keep a braided style like box braids with added extensions in for longer than 6 weeks. Having braids in for too long can cause product buildup, matting at the roots, increased tension on the scalp, and breakage.
How do you take care of your braids?
The best thing about braided styles is that they’re low-maintenance, but you’ll still have to care for your hair and scalp. A protective style like braids, twists, or wigs can cause more damage to your natural hair if the style is not properly installed or maintained. Here are some tips on how to maintain and care for your hair and braids once installed.
If your braids are styled or installed too tight, this can cause tension on your edges and scalp over time, resulting in hair breakage and loss.
While your hair is braided, you must still maintain it by moisturizing it daily and protecting it overnight. Use PATTERN’s Jojoba Oil Blend to moisturize your scalp and reduce breakage and be sure to refresh your braids daily using PATTERN’s Hydrating Mist to preserve and replenish the scalp. Made just for tight protective styles, PATTERN’s Scalp Serum will soothe and calm your roots and bring hydration back.
If you’re installing a braided style that incorporates extensions, we suggest washing your hair about every two weeks. This will help to maintain the health of your hair and prolong your braid style of choice. Apply shampoo or co-wash to your scalp before rinsing and conditioning, just as you would wash your natural hair.
The best way to prevent frizzing, breakage and dehydration in a braided style is to protect it at night before going to bed. There are a few options to keep your hair protected, depending on your preference and the braided style you have in place. Try sleeping on a silk pillowcase and using a satin scarf or bonnet to wrap your hair. And since we all love our edges swooped, swirled, and laid, in the morning, turn to your new favorite hair product PATTERN’S Edge Control to soothe those flyaways and baby hairs.
How long should you let your hair breathe after braids?
Caring for your hair in between protective styling is essential to the overall health of your hair. After you’ve taken out a braided style like box braids, micro braids, or feed-in braids, give your hair a break before reinstalling fresh braids. We recommend waiting at least one week in between installations to give your scalp a rest from tension and allow time for a deep conditioning treatment to strengthen and nourish your natural hair.
The types of braid styles you can wear are endless. There are so many ways you can braid natural hair and add your magic to any given style. Braids are a great choice if you want to protect your natural hair or simply want to switch things up. Remember to prepare your natural hair by cleansing and moisturizing correctly. To keep your look fresh and maintain the health of your hair, moisturize your scalp daily and protect your hair at night. Happy braiding!
- Cindy Marcus. "18 Hottest Jumbo Box Braids Hairstyles to Inspire You". Latest Hairstyles. Updated Aug 18, 2021. https://www.latest-hairstyles.com/black/jumbo-box-braids.html
- Victoria Davis. "21 Braided Hairstyles You Need to Try Next". naturally Curly. Jun 2, 2021. https://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/how-tos-styles/15-braided-hairstyles-you-need-to-try-next
- Michella Oré. "31 Cool Protective Hairstyles You’ll Want to Try This Year". Glamour. Nov 6, 2020. https://www.glamour.com/gallery/cute-protective-styles